It really doesn’t get more heart-felt or political than this letter written by our 8 year-old niece Abbey today.
Tony, listen to the kids!
To Tony Abbott
my name is Abbey and I am 8 years old.
My unkls are gaye and we had to go to
New Zeland to have ther wedding it is going
To be on TV it’s called Living with the Enemy they
wont to get marred in Astralea but thats eligle
I will write to you once a day for a week.
P.S. I wold like the law changed.
Tonight Gregory and I went to dinner at Bridges Bali, a delightful restaurant that we had lunch at last Friday. We returned because the service, food, atmosphere and location were impeccable. Quite the combination if you get it all right. Having had the entrée of rare roast lamb and the main of Thai-inspired grilled Barramundi, we settled for espressos and Cointreau chocolate mousse. Yes, mousse.
And it was during the mousse, yes – mousse, that the conversation turned to one we’d had a number of times in the past, about marriage and our thoughts on it. Yet, this time, there was a different tone to the conversation. Gregory became a little more serious and actually asked me if I’d marry him, not if I’d ever marry him, but if I’d actually marry him. The sort of question that demanded a yes answer, here and now.
Oh, I thought, this is the real thing, not a humorous conversation, but an actual marriage proposal. I think I started to cry and was trying to maintain my composure between polite interruptions from the impeccably appointed wait-staff who clearly weren’t trained in the art of detecting a marriage proposal between two middle-aged men. Wiping away the odd tear or two I said yes and continued trying to untangle the mass of emotions that had beset me, amidst what could only be described as one of the most idyllic moments of my life.
A quick phone-call from me back to Australia to let the folks know and a quick text message or two from Gregory back to his kids and sister and the deal was sealed. I have to say, finding the courage to make that phone call, and finding the actual words to say were amazingly more fraught than I would ever have expected. But having announced our engagement felt good, and it felt right. I couldn’t think of a better man to be engaged to get married to.
Of course, the question has been asked, in which country will you guys get married. Not a question most engaged couples get asked I suspect, because the expectation is they would celebrate their nuptials at home, wherever that was for them. Yet for us two Australians, getting married at home is not so straightforward, because there is no legal option for us to do this in Australia currently. We may be able to get married in a foreign consulate in Australia, but that wouldn’t be on Australian soil, and there wouldn’t be the stunningly beautiful Australian Coat of Arms on that marriage certificate.
It was a very simple decision for us. We are going to get married to each other in Australia, under Australian law, on Australian soil. It may be in the next three years, or it may be longer, but it will happen in both our lifetimes and most likely sooner than later.
We haven’t exchanged rings. We probably won’t. Rings are not our style. We did get an ‘engagement ring’ from Facebook though, when we made that irrevocable and gay announcement to our social networks:
So, thank you Gregory, you’ve changed my life, tonight, and every day since we met on that Tuesday in November 2008. I love you.
P.S. I can’t believe my enjoyment of the perfect chocolate mousse was interrupted by a marriage proposal. Honestly. Timing!
Last September my partner Gregory and I met with his federal Member of Parliament Kelly O’Dwyer to discuss her position on Marriage Equality. You can read about our meeting here.
Today in The Sydney Morning Herald it is reported:
11:31am: Over in the Federation Chamber (a parallel chamber for parliamentary business) Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer has told MPs she supports changing the Marriage Act to recognise same sex marriage.
“There will be some people in my family who will be disappointed,” Ms O’Dwyer says.
“”There will be others in my family who will be able to marry [if laws are changed].”
Ms O’Dwyer has been targetted by marriage equality campaigners due to the high level of support for change in her Melbourne seat.
Tellingly, Ms O’Dwyer says the Coalition party room has not yet debated what its election policy on this issue will be.
to which Gregory asked of Kelly (via Twitter):
Almost immediately after this tweet went out I saw that Kelly O’Dwyer had stated her new position on Marriage Equality:
I believe that changing the Marriage Act by extending the definition to include same-sex couples will not lessen the status of families. On the contrary, I think that it will strengthen it by building stronger bonds of commitment between two people regardless of gender and sexual orientation.
So thank you Kelly, thank you for understanding that all people deserve equal rights. Now please help Tony Abbott understand this too.
Yesterday Gregory and I met with my federal MP Anna Burke (Chisholm). We talked about how the law makes us feel like second-class citizens and how our relationship is inferior to the others of Gregory’s 10 married siblings and my brother’s.
Anna told us her concern was that she had two vocal Greek Orthodox Churches in her electorate who were putting the pressure on her to vote against marriage equality and that there weren’t the numbers to support it.
I suggested maybe she ramp up the quality of the response facility on her web site, to help gauge the level of support more effectively. She didn’t seem too keen.
However Anna’s assistant Janet was extremely supportive and wants the law changed so she has the right to marry her girlfriend. It’s nice to know there’s a dyke in the Anna Burke office keeping Anna honest.
Oh yes, and the email I called Julia and Tony first class c*nts, that tickled Janet pink. :)